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SAMan – Structured Authoring of Manuals – a Use Case at TCWorld 2014

by Wim on September 21st, 2014

Biddle, a leading manufacturer of industrial air curtains, creates product manuals in more than 29 languages for over 31 countries. In 2011 they decided to switch to structured authoring and DITA. They named it the SAMan project: Structured Authoring of Manuals. Biddle hired me to help them sorting out the possibilities and assist with the implementation of tools that support DITA.

To set up a multilingual workflow we worked together with the translation vendor (vertaalbureau.nl) and with Intuillion, the developers of DITAToo Dita CMS. Based on requirements and feedback of Biddle the translation feature of DITAToo has been developed and further enhanced. Before switching to DITA Biddle used unstructured FrameMaker to write their manuals. Based on the existing templates we developed DITA 1.2 structured templates and implemented DITA-FMx to be able to author, manage and publish ditamaps in all the needed languages. Even in DITA-fmx some enhancements  were made based on feedback by Biddle users.

At TCWorld 2014 iDTP and Biddle will present the SAMan project.

Wiepkjen Kingma is technical writer at Biddle. She will tell you about the challenges, the business goals and how SAMan helps her now to produce manuals. For a successful project, cooperation is needed between the client, the localization vendor, the CMS vendor and the implementation consultant. And the key factors: management support and making choices (either right or wrong).

Hope to see you there!

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